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Tallahassee Mall Developers Meet With City Staffers

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An amphitheater, new residential space and new restaurants are all part of evolving plans to renovate the Tallahassee Mall.

Thurday morning developers met with city staff members to get an idea of what they'll have to do to make their plans move forward.

A small conceptual site plan reveals some big plans for the Tallahassee Mall.

On the northwest end for example, the plan shows a new amphitheater.

"Any time you're talking about redevelopment, you're talking about economic development and possibly additional jobs for the city of Tallahassee," said Angie Taylor of Tallahassee Growth Management.

The plans show that amphitheater right where Duana Palmer's furniture store currently sits.

Palmer told us last week, Blackwater Resources of Birmingham, Alamaba, who are both the mall managers and developers, told her she'll have to move due to demolition and reconstruction.

But she hasn't been told when or been offered a big enough space to relocate.

"One day they're going to move us, the next day they're not," said Palmer. "One day they say we've got priority, the next day we don't, so I never know from day to day what's happening," she said.

Blackwater's preliminary plans submitted to the city indicate the first step is to demolish about 220,000 sqare feet of the mall.

Then a multi-layered redevelopment and permitting process Blackwater's Phillip McAfee asked about with city staffers will take place.

"Point us in the right direction," said McAfee. "What mistakes that people make that you can let us know about and say avoid this problem," he said.

"Just become friends with all of the people here," a staffer jokingly replied.

McAfee declined our request for an on camera interview about Blackwater's plans for the mall.

During Thursday morning's meeting, when asked about a hotel as part of the plan, he said all options are on the table.


Some major changes are in store for the Tallahassee Mall.

Mall tenants say those evolving plans may include a hotel, new restaurants and construction to create more outside access to stores.

Duana Palmer and her new associate Travis Nelson opened Tallahassee Discount Furniture for business on Friday.

It was Nelson's first day on the job, but the store may not be in that location long.

Palmer has had the store at the same place in the mall for more than four years.

But she says the new managers plan to renovate her area of the mall, leaving her future in doubt.

"They won't tell me when I have to leave or whether or not they're going to give us any additional space, so it makes it really hard.," said Palmer.

In December, mall tenants received this letter notifying them the prior mall lease owner had transferred the lease to a company called Leon Management Venture of Birmingham, Alabama.

State records show on the same day, last November 15th, Leon Management and two other companies registered to do business in Florida with the same Birmingham address as a company called Blackwater Resources.

According to that company's website, Blackwater executives have leased, managed and developed millions of square feet of property in 36 states and 3 foreign countries.

Sam Okashah has a shoe store in the mall.

He believes he'll benefit from the new management team.

"When they do the remodeling, the business will be booming in the mall and with a lot of companies here, there will be many customers," Okashah said.

One major tenant leaving is Sports Authority.

The mall store is scheduled to close at the end of the month.

On Friday, a team from locally based Moore-Bass Consultants, an engineering firm, was taking measurements outside the mall.

"They said a lot of big spectacular things are coming," said Palmer. "As far as local business owners, our livelihood is in jeopardy here," he said.

The new mall management comes after Eyewitness News reported last August, the mall was put on and then removed from an auction website by a company handling distressed properties.

Our calls to new mall managers about their plans so far have not been returned.


By Andy Alcock
August 21, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - The Tallahassee Mall has been taken off the auction block.

As we first reported last week, the mall had been put on the website auction.com.

The bidding was scheduled to begin Monday and end Wednesday.

However, a spokesman for the website tells us the mall auction was canceled.

Miami Beach based LNR Property is handling the mall sale.

A spokeswoman for LNR was unable to provide any update on the mall's future.


By Andy Alcock
August 13, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - It's close to 1-million square feet, sits on more than 95 acres and is now for sale.

Tallahassee Mall is now on the auction block.

It's been a landmark on North Monroe Street for more than 40 years.

Now the clock is ticking for the sale of the Tallahassee Mall.

The website auction.com says the bidding will start on the mall on Monday.

"I think the big mall standard has got to change at some point," said Shane Lambert of Lambert Construction.

Lambert and Tallahassee Assistant City Manager Jay Townsend talked to a packed room, in part about retail development, at the Chamber of Commerce annual meeting at Amelia Island Saturday.

Both Lambert and Townsend said changes are needed at the Tallahassee Mall.

"I know they've got some big clients in there," said Lambert." "They still have some leases," he said. "Dillard's left it changed the output." Lambert said.

We went to take a look for ourselves.

On a mid Tuesday morning, we found some shops open, other ones in business and not open and some empty spaces.

We found some people waiting for the theater complex to open, but also saw a lot of lonely store clerks and little activity at the food court.

"Somebody's going to have to purchase that and do something dynamic with it," said Lambert.

The sale is being overseen by LNR Property of Miami Beach.

A corporate spokesman says that company handles sales of distressed properties.

Leon County records show Stiles Farm LLC owns the mall.
Those records show the property is divided into three parcels.
The main parcel has an assessed value of a little over $3.9 million.
Altogether, the three parcels are appraised at over $6.5 million.

The firm's accountant Larry Wolfe says owner James Stiles is out of town for the next two weeks and offered no comment on the sale.

Lambert says he hopes a new mall owner will make big changes.

"Cause if we don't have somebody coming in and doing that, it's going to sit there for a long time," he said.

According to the current property manager, the mall is about 70 percent occupied, mostly with local businesses.

The mall auction will be finished a week from Wednesday.


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